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A Guide On Dealing With Dogs That Shed
You may have been thinking about buying a Samoyed dog since they look so majestic and fluffy. But at the same time, you may not be aware of Samoyed shedding patterns.
Also, you may be wondering about how to deal with all that shedding? In this article, we will attempt to answer all these questions about Samoyeds shedding and much more.
Do Samoyeds Shed A Lot, And Why?
The short answer is yes, Samoyed shed a lot. Samoyed shedding level is significantly higher than for most other dog breeds. And one way to understand the reason behind Samoyed shedding is to look at where they were bred in the first place.
They were first bred by the Samoyedic peoples living in the Siberian region of Russia centuries ago. Thus, it was only natural for these dogs to develop physical characteristics that help them survive in that particular environment.
Samoyed dogs have a warm, dense, and thick coat. And to survive in winter, it had to shed the old fur and grow new hair to keep up those excellent insulation characteristics. There are other factors that explain Samoyed fur shedding, but before we can get to them, it is important to learn more about their coat.
What Is A Samoyed Coat Like?
The dense white Samoyed dog fur is perhaps one of the most distinguishable visual features of the breed. Upon closer inspection, you will find that the Samoyed fur is actually comprised of two distinct layers of coat – an undercoat and a topcoat.
The undercoat or the ‘winter coat’ is dense and comprised of shorter follicles that act as an insulator. It helps keep a Sammy toasty and stay thick in the blistering cold temperatures. The feel of the undercoat is akin to that of wool, and it is also a lot thicker than what is found on most other double-coated breeds.
The topcoat, also known as the summer coat, is a set of longer and straighter hair strands that run over the undercoat. Known as guard hairs, this layer of fur acts as a barrier that keeps dirt, snow, and other environmental elements away from the Samoyed’s skin.
The two coats also differ from one another in their color. While the topcoat is almost always predominantly white, the undercoat hair can be seen sporting a hint of cream or biscuit color. Together, they give the Samoyed fur an extremely thick and dense feel.
In certain regions, weavers collect this discarded fur and turn it into what is called ‘Samoyed Wool’. Thus wool is then used to weave Samoyed fur clothes, blankets, and other warm items.
All dogs go through pronounced shedding during the spring and fall. Double coated dogs go through a phase of excessive shedding, or ‘blowing coats’ in dog-owning parlance. But the extent of the Samoyed blowing coat is at a whole different level.
The first Samoyed shedding season happens in September-October when they begin to shed their summer coat as a way of preparing for the winter that is to come after. This shedding helps the dog grow a much thicker and denser coat, and by winter, it is a newly developed coat that lets the canine thrive in the cold climate.
The second stage, when Samoyed shed the most, happens in mid-spring months. Only this time, it sheds all that thick winter coat it had developed. And in its place, grows the overcoat. The more severe Samoyed shedding happens during this season, as it lets go of a denser fur in favor of a much lighter variant.
While this form of Samoyed blowing coat is standard, it is worth noting that the shedding intensity is much higher, with outdoor dogs regularly exposed to sunlight. In contrast, the effect is somewhat reduced in the case of indoor Samoyeds.
Other Reasons Why Dogs Shed So Bad
We have already established how seasonal changes naturally induce Samoyed fur shedding. But what if it is off-season, and your dog still has a blowing coat? Do not worry, as your pet canine could be shedding for reasons other than changes in weather. Some of them are described below:
Often, owners pick up the most inexpensive dog food in bulk, thinking that it will save them money in the long run. However, such a choice of cheap dog food barely meets the nutritional quality required by your pet canine. And when dogs do not get the right nutrients in their diet, it can result in excessive shedding of hair.
Similarly, if you give canines fad, ‘gluten-free’ diets, that can also lead to similar issues of excessive off-season shedding. Samoyeds, being working dogs, naturally require a hearty diet, which should ideally consist of different types of meat and vitamin supplements.
Dog hair fall is a natural, healthy process wherein the skin gets rid of old follicles to grow new ones in its place. When you brush and comb the Samoyed coat, you remove all that loose hair from their body.
Sammys, as a breed, are naturally blessed with a thick coat. As such, Samoyed brushing and grooming, when done regularly, is bound to generate reasonable amounts of loose fur every time. The longer you brush and/comb, the more hair you will see.
The same happens when you bathe them. However, if you use a cheap detergent instead of shampoos formulated for furry dogs, then that could directly result in increased Samoyed hair loss.
Growth and Aging
Samoyeds and dogs, in general, undergo a myriad of changes during their growth, shedding being one among them. During this period, their metabolism is at its peak, which indirectly leads to the loss of fur. Samoyed hair loss is a usual sight with growing pups.
It is the same metabolism that affects dog hair loss that reaches their senior years, albeit in a different manner. As dogs get older, their metabolic rate begins to slump, which might result in excessive shedding.
The right supplements in their diet could somewhat reduce Samoyed fur loss. But that should not be the primary reason. Instead, consult with a veterinarian on what supplements to give your Sammy so that he/she may enjoy the best possible quality of life in the later years.
During Pregnancy and In Estrus
With female Samoyeds, there is an observable change in fur, especially during pregnancy. Apart from shedding, they also lose a significant amount of their weight after they gave birth. And while these changes might seem shocking, rest assured that they are quite reasonable.
You can increase your Samoyed’s intake of nutritional supplements, to ensure that she stays healthy during her pregnancy and after. Consult your vet, however, before you introduce any such changes in her diet.
Samoyed shedding also happens with females when they are ‘in heat’. Known as Estrus, this period sees a marked increase in their fertility levels as they become more receptive to mating advances from male dogs.
In most female dogs, Estrus happens once every six months, and it is more frequent with smaller canine breeds. The heat cycle can last anywhere between 16 to 24 days. If you see a female Samoyed blowing coat, who isn’t pregnant, it is a good indicator of her being in heat.
Spaying might be something you may want to consider if you do not want to worry about Samoyed hair loss that is estrus-related. Talk to your vet if you want to know more about spaying and its benefits to your dog.
How To Deal With Dogs That Shed
Samoyeds and other furry dog breeds will shed their fur, and it is going to be a lot. Look at other non-furry breeds, if low maintenance is your prime concern. But if your heart is set on getting a Sammy or owning a dog that sheds, you will have to get used to frequent and regular grooming practices to deal with all that fur efficiently. Some of them are explained below:
For Samoyed brushing, you will need a pin brush and a rake or comb sporting rotating teeth. Make sure to a pin brush with rounded ends as it will not scratch your pet’s skin. Dogs hate that. Similarly, a comb with rotating teeth glides along with the dog hair with ease compared to one with conventional teeth.
Depending on your preference, you can either have the dog standing or laying down on one side. You could either use the floor or have the dog on a grooming table. When using a grooming table (with the dog standing), you have the convenience of height and are thus able to brush various parts of the Samoyed body by moving all around the table. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the brushed section getting messy because the dog accidentally rolled over. It is a lot more convenient when cleaning after.
With puppies, however, it is better to have them lying down on one side. Since puppies are so active, giving them a chew toy would keep them occupied and while you go about brushing in peace.
For effective Samoyed brushing, we suggest that you begin with a comb and end with a brush. For combing, start from the bottom of the section you want to groom. Hold the comb with your dominant hand; push a layer of Samoyed fur away from the natural direction of growth with the other hand, and comb down in the opposite direction. Then, move your hand up by a couple of inches to reveal the next layer, and comb down. Repeat until no more hair is trapped under your palm, and then move on to the next section.
Samoyed shedding tends to be selectively in certain spots more than others. For instance, some dogs will have more hair loss around the chest, whereas for others, it could be the pants section around the side and rear legs. Regardless of their location, these are sections that need to be combed twice.
Once you are done combing, do each area with a brush. Following the same process as described for combing is most effective. But if you just brushed over the topcoat, that would work too, as long as you do each section. That would get all the strays since hair sticks to the brush much better than a comb.
During Samoyed shedding season (once a year for males and every six months for females), groom them once before their bath to prevent any loose hair from knotting up once wet. And groom them again after they are dry.
Without bathing, your canine’s skin would become infected and irritated, and his/her hair would get all matted and difficult to manage. However, excessive bathing does more harm than good, as it washes away the naturally produced, essential oils that protect your dog’s skin.
Fortunately, double-coated dogs like Samoyeds are fairly clean canines that do not produce a strong body odor. Unless they have rolled around in the mud, their bathing routine could range from once every two months to twice a year. As long as you are not bathing your Sammy every week, it’s all good.
Always use a dog shampoo for bathing them, and preferably one that contains natural ingredients. Never use human shampoo as it contains chemicals that can prove too harsh for Samoyed skin.
Samoyed coat serves as insulation from the heat and cold. Also, it protects their sensitive skin from the sun. Trimming or shaving their fur interferes with the natural ability to regulate their temperature, which could prove disastrous for Samoyed health.
If the Samoyed fur has become matted, and therefore too painful to be combed out, you may use a pair of scissors with rounded ends to cut the mat, but do so with loads of care and patience. Instead of cutting out the mat, try to cut into the mat so that it makes combing that area immediately after.
Some owners feel trimming helps keep the Samoyed fur clean. But if you plan to trim your dog, then there can be no guess work involved when using a pair of scissors. Know exactly what area you will be trimming, and compare it with the length of your scissors. Never get into a position where you cannot see the tip of the scissors, and always move them parallel to the Samoyed hair.
Here are some tips worth considering when trimming Samoyed hair on the following body parts of your dog:
- Top of the foot: When cutting this part, it’s advisable to have the dog standing on a grooming table or any hard surface at a height that makes it comfortable to see the feet. First, comb the hair on one foot, and trim just enough to keep it neat. Then repeat the same steps for the other foot.
- Bottom of the foot: Before trimming the hair between the pads, comb out the hair and remove any mats. Cutting the hair short in this part of the foot is only helps your Sammy on slick surfaces. On snow and dirt, short hair tends to decrease traction.
- Hocks: When trimming the hocks, comb the coat to remove any mats. While holding the scissors away from the skin (by at least an inch or more), move it in a line parallel to the hock as you go about snipping out the extra length.
When Does Samoyed Hair Stop Growing?
The rich and thick double coat keeps Samoyeds warm in cold, wintery conditions, and is the cycle of Samoyed hair loss and regrowth. As a result, Samoyed shedding is seasonal, and especially severe during spring and fall. This phenomenon continues well into their golden years and beyond.
If a Samoyed’s hair stopped growing, then it could be a sign of some kind of skin infection or a symptom of a much severe physiological problem. And if that were the case, then you should get your Sammy checked by a qualified veterinarian.
Q: Are Samoyed hypoallergenic dogs a reality?
A: No dog is hypoallergenic in the strictest sense as all of them produce dead, powdery skin flakes called dander, which produce an allergic response in some people. Samoyeds exhibit low levels of dander. With regular Samoyed brushing and combing, that dander formation may be further reduced to a point where it is insufficient to cause an allergic reaction.
Q: How do you quickly get rid of shed Samoyed fur?
A: Whenever you groom a Samoyed, loose hair is bound to get around the house. A practical method to reduce this is to thoroughly brush your Sammy down to get as much of the loose hair as possible. Then, use a vacuum cleaner (preferably one that comes with a pet grooming accessory) to clean the immediate vicinity. It is the most practical and efficient combination to get rid of shed Samoyed fur quickly and efficiently.